I opened up my email program to find 350 new messages.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t use email like most. I don’t have them downloaded into my mobile so I can keep a pulse on what is happening at all times. I usually open up email three times per day – morning, after lunch and before I turn off my computer for the day. If I’m out on appointments, that may decrease by one.

Out of the 350 email, I deleted around 340 of them just by looking at the subject line and the recipient. And I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve read statistics that show email is now around 90 percent spam related – 10 percent true email. And I can definitely attest to that.

Which means to get an email opened, it has to have a great subject line and be from a trusted referral. Without one of those two items, it doesn’t stand a chance.

Do you use email in an attempt to gain photography business?

After reading that question, you probably went one of two ways.

Yes, and I gain new clients every time I send an email.

No, email is now a complete waste of time.

If you are in the yes crowd, congratulations. You’ve learned that email is a long way from dead, and it still offers a lot of potential in connecting up with potential business.

But if you are in the no crowd, now may be the time to rethink your approach to email.

In order for email to be successful, you have to learn one thing about this creative marketing tool:

Emails are to introduce, engage, build a relationship, give information, create an opportunity, make an appointment or confirm a meeting. Emails are NOT a sales pitch.

Does that piece of advice sound familiar? It should. You can say the same for most online marketing tools anymore, including the social media sites we’ve all come to love.

Yet most sales people get it wrong.

In fact I found 3 of the 10 emails I did open to completely break this rule. While I didn’t recognize the recipients, the subject lines were something that pertained to me, so I opened them. Yet the emails all went something like this:

Hi Lori

I would like 5 minutes of your time to introduce you to my product. It’s a great product; one I’m sure you are going to love. Email me if you’re interested and we can set up a 5 minute demo in which I give you my sales pitch.

Thanks

Would you respond to that? Nope, me neither. Delete.

This type of email breaks two very important rules.

1. Its all about them.

2. There is nothing about relationships; only sales.

What this type of email tells me is they’ve simply created a generic email message and they are searching the Internet for anyone to send it to. They probably have a quota, yet hate to network and market in new ways. So they are relying on the safety of their desks and computers to make initial contact.

It also tells me they are only interested in the final numbers – the bottom line. They are looking for the quickest way to a sale possible. It also tells me they won’t be in this position very long.

If you see yourself in any of this, here is how to change it around.

Start with them – its always about them. If you are emailing someone in today’s world for the very first time, get to know them first. By searching on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, you should be able to find a wealth of information on just about anybody. Now you’re ready to pay attention to them.

Next, make it short and get right to the point. Why are you emailing in the first place? If your email is more than 200 words, its too long. Write it again, get more creative, and make it short.

Start with the end in mind. What do you hope to accomplish with this email? One course of action should be all you plan for. Then write one or two statements to get your point across, one or two questions to engage your recipient, and close with your name.

In ever case, you should hyperlink your name or something in your salutation that directly relates to your site or to your information. People understand “clicking” and will follow things through to find out more information when they want to. You don’t have to spell it all out for them; they will go to the information they want and need.

The same applies to regular email marketing tools such as ezines. Create a format that is recognizable, that provides solid content, and is clickable if the recipient wants more information.

If you are serious about increasing your business, maybe its time you looked to the things you use the most. If email isn’t working for you, change it. It does work IF you use it in the right way.

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